Monday, September 14, 2009
A Legend in my Life Stick Lady
My first encounter with Stick Lady, or I should say her home, was when I was a teenager. I know I wasn't old enough to drive but my friend Randy was and we packed his "67" Chevy and off we went. I think it was the farthest I ever went without my parents driving!! I lived in West Allis and this was in Fox Point, at the time you needed to pack a lunch. It had to be dark and I am sure it was in Fall and near Halloween, , and the stories that built up to the encounter had me scared yet curious. It was very dark, and there were no street lights where we were going, and it is down a steep hill and then we turned and stopped. Everyone got out, I didn't know we were getting out??? It was a pee break, so everyone picked "their" spot and I put my hand on the bumper and squatted very ladylike...if you can peeing outside and the car started moving away from me...."Hey!!!! I pulled my pants up with haste of "getting caught with yer pants down" and failed to notice the dried leaves I also swallowed up in the panties, eh not just a few leaves but a small branch, but there was no time to think about that I was in the car in a flash. We continued down a road along Lake Michigan, a heavy mist filled the air and I was doing the hootie coothie dance in my pants, leaves, stick and all. The headlight hit it, there it was the Stick Ladies house, surrounded by chain link fence with barbed wire swirling across the top. My eyes were stuck open, don't know what I was more concerned with the pants situation or what layed before me. There were statues of people made of "sticks" and concrete and cut out of her picket fence were silouettes of faces, all in the same roundish style. A light was lit above her garage "always" I was told, "she's waiting for her dead husband to return from the Lake"...creeeeeepppppyyyyyy. Well anyone living in the Milwaukee Metro Area and is my age and younger will probably know who I am talking about. Everyone that came into town, all my son's friend, my family...we all made pilgrimages to see Stick Lady. We never were invasive, just looking, just trying and hoping to get a glimpse of her...actually I would even go in daylight and believe me it was a whole different personna in the light, she was an Artist.
fast forward a few years ago, I was reading the paper and there was an article about Mary Nohl, known as the Witch Lady, we knew her as the Stick Lady. I was intrigued, I found out her name, .....she had a name.....I looked up her number, I think part of me wanted to talk to her, the mystery woman that I so hoped to put a face to...I got a woman and asked if I could talk to Mary. I was speaking to Mary's caretaker, but I need to talk to her...."I am sorry, Mary doesn't take phone calls ( from stalking weirdos is what she wanted to say)....well can I give her a message? " Yes, please tell her I have been going to her house for years, we never did anything but drive by, we never got out of the car and bothered her, I was ....I was just curious and I apologize for the people that did. I'm sorry if we bothered her, I never knew that she was an Artist, I am sorry!!!" Mary died a few months after that, but I had made my peace....I could look at her through different eyes now.
Today on my hunt for a Special birthday present for someone else....I found a book all about Mary!!!!!! I am thrilled, I own a piece of Stick Ladies History!!!!! She is a legend to me.....Thank you Mary!!! Oh and the stick and leave in my pants turned into a nasty rash, explain that one to a Dr.